State Universities Civil Service System
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Urbana, IL 61802
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www.sucss.illinois.gov
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5.5 Discharge Hearing

Manual: Employment and Separation Procedures

Subsection: Separation Procedures

If an employee makes a written request for a Hearing to the Secretary of the Merit Board within the 15-day period, the University System Office shall notify the employer that a request for a Hearing has been made and the University System shall schedule a Hearing within 45 calendar days, in accordance with section 250.110(f) of the Illinois Administrative Code (80 Ill. Adm. Code §250.110(f)).

A neutral and unbiased Hearing Officer or Hearing Board will be selected from a panel approved by the Merit Board.  The Hearing is convened by and conducted under the direct responsibility and control of the Executive Director, or the Executive Director's authorized representative.

The employer is requested to provide a room for the conduct of the Hearing, and an area where witnesses may wait.  The employer engages the services of a court reporter and covers all expenses of the court reporter.  The court reporter will record the proceedings of the Hearing, and collect all exhibits entered as evidence. 

Discovery
Prior to the hearing, each party must provide a list of proposed witnesses and any documentation to be offered in its case-in-chief.  Each party must file a copy of this information with the Secretary for the Merit Board, and the opposing party, prior to the hearing (preferably at least three days prior to the hearing).

All University System employers and employees are subject to the Personnel Record Review Act, 820 ILCS 40.  820 ILCS 40/4 states, "Personnel record information which was not included in the personnel record but should have been as required by this Act shall not be used by an employer in a … quasi-judicial proceeding.  However, personnel record information which, in the opinion of the … hearing officer in a quasi-judicial proceeding, was not intentionally excluded from the personnel record may be used by the employer in the proceeding if the employee agrees or has been given a reasonable time to review the information.  Material which should have been included in the personnel record shall be used at the request of the employee."

Transcript
As stated above, the employer pays all expenses incident to the preparation of the Transcript of Evidence.  When the Transcript has been completed by the court reporter, the certified original and one electronic original, along with the original exhibits, are sent directly to the Secretary for the Merit Board.

The University System Office will forward the Transcript to the Hearing Board or Hearing Officer, along with all exhibits, for the purpose of preparing the Findings of Fact.  The Hearing Board or Hearing Officer shall file the Findings of fact with the Secretary for the Merit Board within 15 calendar days after receipt.  When the Findings of Fact have been received by the Secretary for the Merit Board, the Written Charges for Discharge, Suspension Notice Pending Discharge (if issued), employee's request for a Hearing, Transcript of Evidence, Exhibits, Findings of Fact, and other material will be certified by the Executive Director as the official Hearing Record.

The Secretary for the Merit Board forwards a copy of the Hearing Record, along with a notice that the Hearing Record has been certified, to all parties of record in the proceeding.  This information shall be sent by certified mail or by overnight delivery that requires signature upon receipt.  All objections to the form or content of the Hearing Record, briefs, abstracts, or excerpts from the Hearing Record, arguments, motions, or recommendations, relating to the proceedings or the Hearing Record, or requests for further hearing or for permission to supplement further the Hearing Record by other evidence must be filed with the Secretary for the Merit Board within 14 calendar days from the date of the postmark of the certified mail notice or the mailing date of the overnight delivery that the Hearing Record has been certified, with proof of service thereon on all parties.

No answer or reply briefs and arguments will be permitted unless expressly authorized by the Merit Board or its Chair.  Personal appearances before the Merit Board on any matter relating to a particular discharge proceeding will be granted only by express consent and prior Order of the Merit Board after due notice to all parties.  Motions must be filed with the Secretary for the Merit Board within 14 calendar days after the date of the postmark of the certified mail notice or the mailing date of the overnight delivery of the certified hearing record.

Merit Board Decision
The Merit Board, after reviewing the Hearing Record, shall enter and file its final Decision and Order in the matter, and the Secretary for the Merit Board shall transmit copies of the Decision and Order to the parties of record.   Following are the typical decisions rendered by the Merit Board in these matters:

  1. Discharge by the Merit Board
    If the Merit Board orders that the employee shall be discharged from the service of his/her Employer, this fact and the effective date of the discharge shall be entered on the Civil Service employment records.
  2. Reinstatement by the Merit Board
    If the Merit Board orders that the employee shall be reinstated to employment in a position of the class, without loss of compensation, no entry relating to Written Charges for Discharge and Suspension Notice Pending Discharge (if issued) shall be made on the Civil Service employment records. The employer shall immediately take whatever steps are necessary to compensate the employee for time lost from work because of the Suspension Pending Discharge, as ordered by the Merit Board.
  3. Reinstatement with 60 calendar day Suspension by the Merit Board
    If the Merit Board orders that the employee shall be reinstated to employment with a 60-day suspension in a position of the class, the employer shall immediately take whatever steps are necessary to compensate the employee for any time other than the 60-day suspension, as ordered by the Merit Board.

Please be reminded that the Merit Board has discretion to determine the appropriate disposition in these discharge cases on a case-by-case basis. Again, the Merit Board's decision is final. Once a final administrative decision has been rendered by the Merit Board in discharge cases, any appeal must be made through the courts within a designated timeframe, in accordance with the Administrative Review Law.


(Reference 80 Ill. Adm. Code §250.110(f))
Revised 8/20/2014